Ethnicity and Homicide in California, 1850-1900 (ICPSR 9594)

Principal Investigator(s): McKanna, Clare V. Jr.


This data collection explores the relationship between homicide and ethnicity in California during 1850-1900. The data are presented in three files. Part 1, Homicide, includes information on time, place, location, and cause of the crime for all murder cases in seven California counties. The relationship between the victim and the accused, and the race, sex, age, and occupation of each are also provided. Part 2, Indictment, includes information on criminal charge, plea, verdict, and sentence for all murder trials in the same seven counties during the time period. Part 3 provides information on all prisoners incarcerated in California for murder. Included are age, sex, ethnicity, place of birth, and occupation of each prisoner, as well as sentence, disposition of case, years served, and year in which the prisoner was released.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Homicide - Download All Files (0.681 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   
DS2:  Indictment - Download All Files (0.334 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   
DS3:  Prison - Download All Files (0.647 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   
DS5:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Homicide Data - Download All Files (0.111 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   
DS6:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Indictment Data - Download All Files (0.091 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   
DS7:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Prison Data - Download All Files (0.101 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   

Study Description


McKanna, Clare V., Jr. ETHNICITY AND HOMICIDE IN CALIFORNIA, 1850-1900. ICPSR version. San Diego, CA: San Diego State University [producer], 1989. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1994.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES 87-20939)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    crime, ethnicity, homicide, indictments, inmates, murder, offenders, plea negotiations, sentencing, verdicts

Geographic Coverage:    California, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1850--1900

Date of Collection:   

  • 1987--1989

Universe:    Homicides in California, 1850-1900.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data


Sample:    Data for Parts 1 and 2 are 100-percent samples from seven California counties. The homicide data (Part 1) were obtained from historical documents such as coroner's inquest reports, criminal case files, and newspaper accounts. The indictment data (Part 2) were obtained from the registers of district and superior courts. Data for Part 3 are a 100-percent sample of all felons incarcerated for murder or manslaughter in California, obtained from the registers of the San Quentin and Folsom prisons.

Data Source:

prison and court registers, newspapers, county histories, criminal case files, and coroner's inquest reports

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1992-01-10

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 4 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.



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